February 2012
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Take a carnivore to lunch on Meatout day, March 20.
In this edition...

Health
  Bird flu will remain a threat as long as factory farms exist
  Vegetarians have lower measured blood pressures and less hypertension than non-vegetarians
  Phosphate in food is 'health risk' that should be labelled, claim researchers
  Mindful eating as food for thought

Environment and World Hunger
  Watch a century of global warming in less than 30 seconds
  Miracle tree is like a supermarket
  Video: How we use the food we grow
  Building sustainable future needs more than science, experts say

Lifestyles and Trends
  How to date a vegan
  First 'test-tube' hamburger to be produced this year
  Eating meat, with a side order of internal conflict
  Farm animal angst: Decoding the sustainable and humane meat hysteria

Animal Issues and Advocacy
  Five reasons farm animals are amazing
  U.S. turkey farm workers arrested for cruelty
  Food and conscience - McDonald's move on sow crates is an omen for factory farming
  Canada: Big ag firm faces 60 criminal charges as thousands of chickens perish
  Declare 'human' rights for dolphins and whales, scientists urge

Books and Perspectives
  The inventive vegan
  Long-awaited new book will debunk starch myths
 
Don't forget to visit:
(Excerpts are included from current news stories. Click on the "Full story" link to read the full article.)
  Health    

Bird flu will remain a threat as long as factory farms exist
Full story: Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics

The author of a pioneering new book on animals and public health claims that "as long as factory farms exist; we will continue to be at risk from bird flu." Dr Aysha Akhtar, the author of Animals and Public Health: Why treating animals better is critical to human welfare, considers that while Bird Flu is currently receiving much attention owing to recent deaths in Vietnam and its potential use in bio-terrorism, "we don't need a terrorist to wreak havoc. By confining billions of animals on factory farms, we have created a worldwide natural laboratory for the rapid development of a deadly and highly infectious form of the virus." The book reveals how the connection between how we treat animals and human health goes beyond bird flu, however. Dr Akhtar reveals how poor animal treatment is related to issues as diverse as domestic violence, the obesity epidemic, the world's most ominous infectious diseases, animal attacks, high-profile drug failures and climate change. Professor Andrew Linzey says, "This is a must read for all those who think caring for animals is a separate issue from human welfare. The scientific evidence marshalled in this book ought to dispel any lingering doubts that a world in which animal abuse goes unchecked is a less safe world for human beings."   Read more...

Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics - February 16

Vegetarians have lower measured blood pressures and less hypertension than non-vegetarians
Full story: Loma Linda University

Diet affects blood pressure levels and vegetarians (vegans and lacto-ovo vegetarians) have less hypertension than non-vegetarians, according to researchers at the Adventist Health Study, Loma Linda University. Over the last thirty years, many studies have examined the effects of a vegetarian diet on blood pressure. Yet, most of these have been short-term, limited in size, and not on diverse subjects. They also tend to focus on the lacto-ovo vegetarian rather than the vegan diet. This particular study, aimed to evaluate the association between vegetarian dietary pattern and both blood pressure and diagnosis of hypertension, differs from the previous ones - it presents results of a cross-sectional comparison within a relatively large and diverse group, where the vegetarian and non-vegetarian habits were generally long-term, and where vegetarians are divided to vegans and non-vegans. The main result: vegan and lacto-ovo vegetarian had lower systolic and diastolic blood pressure than omnivorous Adventists. Vegans have the least hypertension.   Read more...

Loma Linda University - January

Phosphate in food is 'health risk' that should be labelled, claim researchers
Full story: Food Navigator

Food products with high phosphate contents [mainly dairy, meat, eggs, fish] are damaging to the health of the general public, and as such should be labelled, say researchers behind a new study.   Read more...

Food Navigator - February 20

Mindful eating as food for thought
Full story: New York Times

Try this: place a forkful of food in your mouth. It doesn't matter what the food is, but make it something you love - let's say it's that first nibble from three hot, fragrant, perfectly cooked ravioli. Now comes the hard part. Put the fork down. This could be a lot more challenging than you imagine, because that first bite was very good and another immediately beckons. You're hungry. Today's experiment in eating, however, involves becoming aware of that reflexive urge to plow through your meal like Cookie Monster on a shortbread bender. Resist it. Leave the fork on the table. Chew slowly. Stop talking. Tune in to the texture of the pasta, the flavor of the cheese, the bright color of the sauce in the bowl, the aroma of the rising steam. Continue this way throughout the course of a meal, and you'll experience the third-eye-opening pleasures and frustrations of a practice known as mindful eating.   Read more...

New York Times - February 7
Watch a video about mindful eating at Google headquarters:


Also of interest: Savor: Mindful Eating, Mindful Life by Dr. Cheung and Vietnamese Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh of the video.


More Health News:
Check out Dr. Greger's NutritionFacts.org for the latest in nutrition research
Informative, up-to-date, health videos - new video added every weekday! - more than 600 videos on more than 1000 topics
Vitamin B12 supplementation
Audio and transcript - ABC Radio National, Australia (February 13)

 
  Environment and World Hunger    

Watch a century of global warming in less than 30 seconds
Watch video: Goddard Institute for Space Studies/YouTube

NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS - for more details) in New York released a visual analysis of how temperatures around the globe in 2011 compared to the average global temperature from the mid-20th century. The comparison shows how Earth continues to experience higher temperatures than several decades ago.   Read more...

Goddard Institute for Space Studies/YouTube - February 13

Miracle tree is like a supermarket
Full story: IPS

A fast-growing, drought-resistant tree [dubbed the "miracle tree" with the botanical name Moringa oleifera] with extremely nutritious leaves could help poor, arid nations to fight food insecurity and malnutrition. Moringa leaves contain the calcium equivalent of four glasses of milk, the vitamin C content of seven oranges, the potassium of three bananas, three times the amount of iron found in spinach, four times the amount of vitamin A found in a carrot and twice the amount of protein in milk. It is like a supermarket on a tree. The plant, which is native to northern India, has been used in Ayurveda medicine for centuries and is said to prevent 300 diseases. Moreover, the seeds of the tree can be used to purify water. The tree is non-invasive, needs little water and grows fast. Moringa could thus indeed become a widely used hunger prevention method, food experts say, as it can grow in all of the world's subtropical areas, where droughts and malnutrition are prevalent - in most parts of Africa, Central and South America, the Middle East and South-East Asia.   Read more...

IPS - January 25

Video: How we use the food we grow
Watch video: Care2

In 2008, enough food was grown to feed 11 billion people; however, most of it was fed to animals and a lot was used as fuel... and a lot of people went hungry or ate unhealthily. The video illustrates the words of food activist Michael Pollan as he debunks some of the myths about food and agriculture. Pollan asks the vital question "to what use do we put the food we are growing?" Pollan also counters the assumptions that organic agriculture is too expensive and too impractical for widespread use, quoting research showing that in the developing world, switching to all organic methods would result in 182 per cent of current yields. He states that like the overall economy, agriculture, currently dominated by fossil-fuel energy in the processing and transport, needs to rely less on fossil fuels in the future.   Read more...

Care2 - February 16

Building sustainable future needs more than science, experts say
Full story: IPS

Contrary to popular belief, humans have failed to address the earth's worsening emergencies of climate change, species' extinction and resource overconsumption not because of a lack of information, but because of a lack of imagination, social scientists and artists say. At a conference for the American Academy for the Advancement of Science in Vancouver, British Columbia, experts argued that the path to a truly sustainable future is through the muddy waters of emotions, values, ethics, and most importantly, imagination.   Read more...

IPS - February 19
Related video:

TED Talk: Zoe Weil - The world becomes what you teach


More Environmental News:
Meat trade emissions equal to half of all Britain's cars
The Independent (February 5)
U.S.: What about the state of our planet, Mr. President?
Counter Punch (January 27)
More than 1 in 10 of marine species in tropical eastern Pacific threatened
International Union for Conservation of Nature (February 23)
I am an environmentalist. Yes, I DO want to restrict your 'freedom'
Treehugger (February 23)

 
  Lifestyles and Trends    

How to date a vegan
Full story: VegNews Magazine

Omnivores, this one's for you. Want to sweep a vegan off his or her feet? Then listen up and stick to our five key tips... 1. It's Not About You. Immediately upon sitting down to a mixed-company meal, most vegans will be regaled with tales of why their dining companions could never give up cheese or why their hearts belong to In-N-Out. Here's the thing: Our choice to be vegan really isn't about making other people defend their own diets - it's about living in accordance with our values. If you can't live without cheese (well, technically you can, but that's not the point here), that's OK. Remember: It's dinner, not a debate. You wouldn't take out a democrat and spend the evening trying to extoll the virtues of trickle-down economics, would you?   Read more...

VegNews Magazine - February 12

First 'test-tube' hamburger to be produced this year
Full story: The Raw Story

The world's first "test-tube" meat, a hamburger made from a cow's stem cells, will be produced this fall, Dutch scientist Mark Post told a major science conference on [February 19]. Post's aim is to invent an efficient way to produce skeletal muscle tissue in a laboratory that exactly mimics meat, and eventually replace the entire meat-animal industry. The ingredients for his first burger are "still in a laboratory phase," he said, but by fall "we have committed ourselves to make a couple of thousand of small tissues, and then assemble them into a hamburger." Post spoke at a symposium titled "The Next Agricultural Revolution" at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Vancouver. Speakers said they aim to develop such "meat" products for mass consumption to reduce the environmental and health costs of conventional food production.   Read more...

The Raw Story - February 19
Watch a succinct video about in vitro meat:


Eating meat, with a side order of internal conflict
Full story: Bangor Daily News/Washington Post

Meat eating is not the simple pleasure it was in previous generations, and not just for those frequenting fast-food joints. Even as millions of Americans continue to gobble down gourmet burgers, dry-aged steaks, chef-driven charcuterie and bacon-wrapped everything, they're regularly forced to consider the potential consequences of their actions. Environmentalists want us to think about the greenhouse gases that meat production creates. Humane advocates want us to consider the suffering of animals. Doctors want us to ponder the health implications. And the medical community would like us to understand the potential fallout - otherwise known as antibiotic resistance - of pumping farm animals full of drugs. It's as if America has become schizophrenic about meat: As the reasons to reduce or eliminate meat consumption increase, so do the sources of particularly tasty morsels of animal flesh.   Read more...

Bangor Daily News/Washington Post - February 17

Farm animal angst: Decoding the sustainable and humane meat hysteria
Full story: One Green Planet

"Now sustainable meat is all the rage." Grist, Jan. 31, 2012 [excellent series of articles entitled "Protein angst."] Since the late 1990s, something like mass support for eliminating factory farming has grown. Revelations of industrial animal production practices and conditions have attracted media coverage, as Internet images and investigative reports document how animals in agribusiness are living and dying horrifically on factory farms. But while these revelations have boosted a vegan response, the prevailing attitude at present is that while industrial animal farming is bad, people can continue to eat animal products that somehow avoid the taint of "factory farming," arriving in supermarkets and restaurants from pastoral settings where animals are "happy," receive a "respectful death," and contribute to the health of the planet in being farmed - a daydream popularized by Michael Pollan, Eric Schlosser, and other food writers. The reality is that the cruelest, most brutal and atrocious industrial farming conditions and practices have become the standard by which so-called humane treatment of farmed animals and satisfaction of their "basic behavioral needs" are being measured. The term "humane" as applied to farmed animals is a true example of Orwellian Doublespeak.   Read more...

One Green Planet - February 13

More Lifestyles and Trends News:
Who doesn't love [vegan] Woody Harrelson?
Esquire (February)
Why Buddhists should be vegetarian
Sujato's Blog (January 28)

 
  Animal Issues and Advocacy    

Five reasons farm animals are amazing
Full story: VegNews Magazine

[From Paul Shapiro, HSUS.] Let's face it: Farm animals have it rough. Sure, it's all the problems related to factory farming, but it's also just being, as one former president liked to put it, misunderestimated. Farm animals have fascinating abilities, quirky personalities, and many hidden talents that are grossly under-appreciated in our society. And now's a good time to change that. Of course, there are millions of reasons to have a heart for the chickens, turkeys, pigs and cows, but here are five of my favorites.   Read more...

VegNews Magazine - February 13

U.S. turkey farm workers arrested for cruelty
Full story: ABC News, U.S.

Six workers at a Butterball turkey farm in North Carolina face criminal charges after an undercover video revealed alleged animal abuse, and a state employee who tipped off Butterball before a police raid on the farm has pled guilty to obstruction of justice. Mercy for Animals, the animal rights group that shot the undercover video, said there had been no insider information about abuse at the facility before the tape was made. "Unfortunately, every time we send an investigator they emerge with shocking evidence of animal abuse," said MFA executive director Nathan Runkle. "Butterball allowed a culture of cruelty and abuse to fester at its company-owned factory farms," alleged Runkle. "Before ending up in restaurants and grocery stores, turkeys killed for Butterball are routinely crowded into filthy warehouses, neglected to die from infected, bloody wounds, and thrown, kicked, and beaten by factory farm workers." [Additional videos of cruelty and unsanitary conditions at egg farms at the link.]   Read more...

ABC News, U.S. - February 16

Food and conscience - McDonald's move on sow crates is an omen for factory farming
Full story: Chicago Tribune

Factory farming and its abuses were once the province of an eccentric minority that invited ridicule and scorn. Agribusiness corporations could afford to ignore them. In the real America, nobody wasted time worrying about the well-being of livestock. But the real America has changed. On [February 13], the biggest restaurant chain on the planet, McDonald's, lined up on the same side as the Humane Society of the United States on a major issue of animal welfare. It informed its pork suppliers that they will have to stop confining pregnant sows in "gestation crates" that are too small to let the animals turn around... Mandates from major corporations - or from governments - allow [producers] to adopt new methods without being undercut by less scrupulous suppliers. Americans have a strong attachment to the freedom to live their lives with a minimum of interference. But they understand there is no human right to abuse animals. Before he ascended to the papacy, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger decried battery cages for the "degrading of living creatures to a commodity," a lament that applies to other factory methods as well. When the pope and McDonald's are both against something, odds are high its time is past. [A round-up of news on McDonald's move from Vegan.com.]   Read more...

Chicago Tribune - February 16

Canada: Big ag firm faces 60 criminal charges as thousands of chickens perish
Full story: Toronto Star

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has laid 60 criminal charges against Maple Lodge Farms, Canada's largest independent chicken processor, alleging violations of federal animal health regulations. The CFIA alleges that thousands of chickens died from exposure to cold conditions during transportation from farm to slaughterhouse. The first count concerns a haul of broiler chickens, which are raised solely for meat production; their breasts and thighs appear on grocery store shelves. The second refers to a load of spent hens, a term for poultry no longer capable of laying eggs, whose meat is often used in ground chicken products. Frail and fragile after de-feathering and a lifetime laying eggs, spent hens are especially susceptible to cold exposure. Liz White, director of Animal Alliance, a Toronto animal welfare coalition, said the chicken processing system - with its focus on the bottom line - is inherently inhumane.   Read more...

Toronto Star - January 8

Declare 'human' rights for dolphins and whales, scientists urge
Full story: Care2

A session [February 19] at the world's largest annual science conference presented the case for considering whales and dolphins as non-human persons, with basic rights to life, liberty and well-being. The session at the American Association for the Advancement of Science considered the ethical and policy implications of recent advances in scientific understanding of the intelligence and behavior of cetaceans (whales, dolphins and porpoises) and urged support for the Declaration of Rights for Cetaceans, originally proposed in 2010. One of the presenters, Dr. Lori Marino, outlined the ramification of recognizing cetacean "personhood" as it relates to whaling: "Once you shift from seeing a being as a property, a commodity, a resource, to a person, an autonomous entity that has a right to life on his or her own terms, the whole framework shifts.. this is not about harvesting resources, this is about murder."   Read more...

Care2 - February 22

More Animal Issues and Advocacy News:
If you're feeling discouraged - read this: A new hope
Vegan Outreach (February 7)
Captain Paul Watson: Defender of the seas
In 2011, Watson spent just five days at his home in Friday Harbor, Washington. The rest of the year he was navigating the ocean, fulfilling the silent promise he made to that dying whale so many years ago. One man, out to save the sea. - E-The Environmental Magazine (January/February)
Humane Society exposes pig abuse in Walmart suppliers
Care2 (February 1)
Exploding pig barns
So its come to this: factory farmers, well-established in the habit of calling animal advocates terrorists, have adopted farming practices that cause their own barns to blow up. - Vegan.com (February 9)
Whale meat available for purchase on Amazon.com Japan
Treehugger (February 21)
Goats develop accents
National Post (February 21)

 
  Books and Perspectives    

The inventive vegan
Full story: E - The Environmental Magazine

The New York restaurant Candle 79 takes vegan food to the arena of high cuisine, celebrating seasonal foods, healthy eating and, most of all, good taste. The Candle 79 Cookbook: Modern Vegan Classics from New York's Premier Sustainable Restaurant invites home cooks into their famed kitchen, with recipes for appetizers, soups, salads, entrées, sides, sauces, brunch food, desserts and drinks that will likely open readers' worlds to new ingredients from beans and root vegetables to spices. Many recipes are vegan twists on traditional favorites that have the advantage of being widely tested and approved by repeat restaurant-goers. The entrées get seriously inventive. Related pictures are gorgeous, and a glossary spells out any unfamiliar ingredients. As Candle 79 co-owner Joy Pierson, executive chef Angel Ramos and pastry chef Jorge Pineda write in the introduction: "The food at Candle 79 expands the horizons of vegan cuisine, proving that the healthiest food can also be the most flavorful and satisfying."   Read more...

E - The Environmental Magazine - January 1

Long-awaited new book will debunk starch myths
Full story: Amazon

From Atkins to Dukan, fear of the almighty carb has taken over the diet industry for the past few decades - even the mere mention of a starch-heavy food is enough to trigger an avalanche of shame and longing. But the truth is, carbs are not the enemy. Now, bestselling author John A. McDougall, MD, and his kitchen-savvy wife, Mary, prove that a starch-rich diet can actually help you lose weight, prevent a variety of ills, and even cure common diseases. The Starch Solution is based on a simple swap: By fueling your body primarily with carbohydrates rather than proteins and fats, you'll feel satisfied, boost energy, and look and feel your best. [The book will be released in May but can be pre-ordered now.]   Read more...

Amazon - February


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